From the President

Firstly, I would like to thank the large number of members and friends whom attended and made our Society’s 37th anniversary dinner a great evening and success. Our Patron, Commissioner Mal Hyde was guest speaker and provided a fascinating insight into the recent successful SA and SAPOL bid to stage the 2007 World Police and Fire Games here in Adelaide. The Games are second in size to the Olympic Games and will be something that will be a great boost to South Australia. During his presentation the Commissioner showed a video which was used during the bid process. I am pleased to advise that since that evening Mr Hyde has made available a copy of the video to the Society.

Also during the evening Mr Hyde presented to the Society the former ‘Commissioner’s baton of honour’ award. The baton on honour was up until 1993 presented to the ‘dux’ of Commissioned Officer Inspectors Course. The Society was pleased to become the ‘guardian’ of the award and it will be preserved along with other SAPOL memorabilia.

I would like to take this opportunity to publicly acknowledge and sincerely thanks the many Society members who contributed to or were involved in the recent Sensational Adelaide International Tattoo. The Tattoo was an outstanding success and was given outstanding accolades from the critics, public, media and importantly from our own people. The Society many months ago was firstly given the opportunity to be responsible for the running of the Tattoo official merchandise as a fund raiser for the re-establishment of the Police Museum at Thebarton Barracks. The Society was also asked to provide up to 40 early police uniforms to be worn by a group of Neighbourhood Watch volunteers who were to participate in the event and we were also asked to provide static displays and contribute to the arena event dealing with the early history of policing in SA. The Executive Committee without hesitation accepted the invitation to be involved and to be responsible for the official merchandise.

It is now history as to the substantial contribution by the Society and its members. In excess of 40 members and friends became actively involved, either in the preparation of displays, the development of the tattoo merchandise and subsequent staffing of the merchandise ‘shop’, the manning of the static display and participation in the actual tattoo, to managing the selling of the official programs and the provision of uniforms to over 40 volunteers from Neighbourhood Watch.

I am aware that many members contributed many long hours in the months, weeks and days leading up to the Tattoo and during the event itself. During the Tattoo many of our Society members commenced duty at Thebarton Barracks at 10 am and did not return until well after 11 pm. In fact, on the final night I am aware that some did not complete duty’ until after 2 am. then with many members returning on the Sunday to remove the display material and vehicles back to Thebarton Barracks. Whilst a number of difficulties were encountered at the beginning of the Tattoo (which is to be expected in the staging of such a large event), I am confident in reporting that all members enjoyed being part of “the show” and although it was very wearing on the body, everyone thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

Whist it is dangerous to mention some names and not others, as the 40 or more Society members all made major personal contributions and warrant naming, I would however, particularly like to personally recognise three members. They are Geoff Rawson who was outstanding in his role as the Society’s Tattoo coordinator, Rob Thomson for his tireless efforts in fining out all of the volunteers in early police uniforms and for managing the sales of Tattoo programs, Rex Greig and his team for restoring the former police motorcycles into working order and first class condition for display at the Tattoo and to Bill Rojas for managing the merchandise and ‘shop’. As I mentioned earlier all these people were outstandingly supported by over 40 Society members and to you all I say a special “thank you and well done”.

In regards to what money the Society raised from the Tattoo towards the Museum fund, the accounts are still being received and paid and the final figure is yet to be determined. However, I know that our Treasurer Tony Woodcock is waiting with much anticipation to bolstering the Museum fund.

Finally, I look forward to seeing you all at the Kapunda Historical Society Heritage event on Saturday 27 October. A special thanks to Bob Potts and Bill Rojas for their efforts in the development of this event. Further details are outlined in the Hue & Cry.

Also a final reminder that our next general meeting is on Friday 3 November. Our guest speaker will be talking on the history of the SA Fire Service.

Kind regards.

John White

Woman Police Constable Joyce Richardson (later Woman Police Principal) and Woman Police Constable Violet Curtis tending a lost child in King William Road, Adelaide near Elder Park. Note the Elder Park rotunda at the right and the railway station building in the right background. Violet Curtis is shown using a Police phone box which was situated on a post near the footpath, and which was one of a number of such phones placed at various locations in the City of Adelaide.
Police members were issued with a ‘call box key’ which enabled access to the handset in the ‘call box’. The phone set enabled direct contact with Police Headquarters, then at 1 Angas Street, Adelaide.
The photo was taken C 1949. The ‘call boxes’ which were often located in lanes and side streets, off the main streets of the City of Adelaide, and in strategic locations in the parklands, were in use for many years up to and including the 1960-70’s, and were the predecessors to portable hand-held two way radios in the City.

(Please note that photograph is not included here because photocopies of photographs are
not suitable to scan  as computer graphics)


 Police Gazette.

This publication is issued for the information of the Police only, who are directed to obey all orders
hereby conveyed, and to use their) utmost exertions /br the apprehension of the parties and the
recovery of the property herein and before described.

Acting Commissioner of Police.

 No. 19.]                                                       ADELAIDE, WEDNESDAY, MAY 10, 1882.

Police Commissioner’s Office, Adelaide, May 8th, 1882
EMO.—The Chairman of the Adelaide Licensing Bench,
through the Honourable Chief Secretary, has called attention- to the state of the back premises of hotels throughout the
city and country. Inspectors of public houses will therefore
pay special attention to this matter, for the purpose of seeing
that they are thoroughly cleansed and deodorised. Publi- 
cans should be told that unless they attend to this their licences will be opposed, and which must be done in all cases where it is found that instructions have not been complied with.
Wm. J. Peterswald, Acting Commissioner. 
Vide Police Commissioner’s Office, 283/1882, and Cus
 toms, 46/82

                 Police Commissioners Office, Adelaide, May 9th, 1882. 
EMO.—UNIFORMS.— Vide Police Gazette, March 8th,
1882, page 47.—Mi1itary spurs must not in future be worn,
‘Wm. J. PETERSWALD, Acting Commissioner. 
MEMO.-—A police station has been opened at ‘Wirrabara
MEMO.—Mounted Constable South has returned to his
 station at Barrow Creek
* MEMO.—Mounted Constable Shirley is absent from his
station at Alice Springs.
MEMO.—Mounted Constable Hayes has returned to his
station at Robe.

Warrants have been issued for the arrest of the under-
 mentioned offenders—
Alfred Waddilove, age about 28 years, height 5ft. lOin., 
slight build, prominent nose, dark hair, dark complection, for, 

on the 22nd ultimo, embezzling the sum of £40, the property 
of his employer, Angus McLean, at Adelaide. —(C.1178.)
James Ellis, alias Ringwood, age about 28 years, height
6ft., large blue eyes, dark-brown hair, whiskers, and mous­
tache, wore new grey tweed clothes and carried others in a 
new portmanteau, for, on the 28th ultimo, forging and
uttering to Francis H. Drake, at Rhynie, an order drawn by
William Dearlove. of Ketchowia Station; the amount of
order being altered from £5 Ss. 7d to £50 6s. 7d.—(C.1185.)

Charles Miuge (no description given), for disobeying a summons of the Adelaide Bench for assaulting Frederick
Schlork, on the 22nd ultimo.—(C.1207.)

John Caffery, age about 28 years, height Mt. lOin., fair
complenion, for cruelty t6 a. horse at Adelaide on the 29th ultimo.—(C.1208)

John O’Mahony (no description given), for drunkenness
in King ‘William-street, Adelaide, on the 3rd instant --
(C 1209)

Vide Police Gazette. 1882, page 58
Adam Currey, for disobeying a summons of the Nara­
coorte Bench, has been arrested by Mounted Constable Mack,
at Custon.—(C.686.)

Vide Police Gazette, 1882, page 42.
James Mathieson, for larceny as a bailee. has been arrested
by Foot Constable Wallace, at Adelaide.—(C.5l5.)

Vide Police Gazette, 1882, page 30.
John Reddin, on warrant for false representations, has been
arrested by Mounted Constable Ellis, at the Burra.—(C.312.)


by R. E. Kilimier, A.M., Q.P.M.. J.P.
Deputy Commissioner (Red).

OCTOBER, 1883. Harry Readford1 is reported missing from Brunette Downs Station in the Northern Territory. A search party is mounted under the direction of Mounted Constable John Charles Shirley. The party is comprised of eight men and 18 horses. These men were Shirley, James Hussy, John Reuse, George Phillips, Arthur Phillips and Alan M. Giles with two native trackers. Tragedy overtook the search party, all perishing from Lack of water with the exception of two members, (A.M. Giles), an experienced busman, and an aboriginal tracker. Ironically, Readford was later found but was to suffer a different fate, drowning in Corrella Creek during heavy rains, a few years later. The following is the account by Giles of the events. This appeared in “Family Life in South Australia,’ published privately by J. Watts, in 1890.

“On the Monday after MC. Shirley received his final instructions from the Commissioner of Police, M.C Shirley, J. Rees, self and a black tracker started with four saddle horses and two packs, one horse being packed with water, and intending to find water to east of the camp on Attack Creek and find a route to Corrella. Our pack horse with water bags was a very old one, supplied by Powell’s Creek and quite unfit for the work, as I mentioned at the time of starting.

We proceeded east for some 25 miles with no signs of water, then struck north to a visible plain and camped in scrub at about five miles No water. Next morning we proceeded across the plain and over some low ranges to another small plain, where water was found by John Rees in a native well and some crab holes. Camped there that day — distance 6 miles. Wednesday — The old horse died and I went back to the camp on Attack Creek to bring up the remainder of the party, as there was splendid feed as well.

Thursday — Brought up the remainder of the party to Rees Well. Friday — Rees and Hussey went out and found more crab holes with water, two miles to the east; also struck Readford’s tracks about six miles from camp, bearing north east. Saturday —Shifted party to crab holes. Sunday — Whole party made start for Corrella, following Readford’s tracks with slight difficulty, the course being north-east on a large plain.   Camped at 7 p.m. having travelled about 35 miles without finding water.

Monday — Started on tracks bearing east by south and east at times. We lost the tracks about 10a.m. Kept on the same course but did not strike the tracks again. Very hot.
1Some accounts state this search was mounted to find aborigines who speared Joseph Martin, causing his death on 29 August 1883.   This is obviously incorrect, the unrelated search for Readford commencing on or about the 29th October 1883.   Readford or Redford as he was sometimes known, is better known to history as "Captain Starlight" the perpetrator of the theft of more than 1000 head of cattle from Bowen Downs in Queensland's Central West in 1870, and for his epic trek with these into South Australia.
2William John Peterswald -- Commissioner of Police, 1882-1896.

About 3 p.m. came on large bluebush with coolibar running about north-east and south­west. Followed it to the north for three or four miles. Saw several water birds and searched for water without success. Camped at 5 p.m. having made about 25 miles.

Here, M.C. Shirley said he had decided to return, so we planted all swags, rations etc. in trees with the exception of about 30 lbs of flour, and a little sugar. At 6.30 p.m. we made a start for Rees Well again. Monday night — Shirley got too far to the south and into dense scrub. Still keeping south-west we travelled all night on that course in dense scrub. In the morning I objected to going further south and told Shirley so, stating that the plain and the tracks were to the north of us. He said he thought not, so I said I would go my own way, when he decided to follow me and after making north-west for about 9-10 miles struck the edge of the plain about 8 a.m. As it was intensely hot, Shirley decided to camp until evening, which we did, all the horses being done up.

On Tuesday evening four horses died in our camp. About 6 p.m. we started on a north westerly course to cut tracks on the plain. Left all packs except one; also all rations and rifles, but took the remaining water (one gallon) in a canteen. Travelled on at a very slow pace dropping horses every mile. About 2 p.m. there were only three horses left, so Arthur Phillips, James Hussey and John Rees stayed behind to have a sleep and come on, on foot. Shirley gave them all nearly all the water.

Wednesday morning — About 6.30a.m. we struck tracks about 14 miles from Rees Well. All the horses were done, so we left them. Shirley, George Phillips and two boys proceeded on foot. I sent the boy with me to bring back water from the crab holes and Shirley sent the other. We proceeded along the tracks for about a mile. I was in the lead when it became very hot. I struck a little patch of scrub and camped for the day. The others did not come up to me.

Wednesday evening. — I came to my senses about dark, and started on the tracks. I made about 3 miles and was having a rest when I heard a voice calling about 200 yards from me. Going over I found poor Shirley under a little bush. He said he came there to die as he could not walk. I asked him if he knew anything of the others. He said only George, who was under a bush about 300 yards away and whom he thought was dead. I did not go as Shirley could not go with me, and I was afraid I could not find him.

While we were talking we heard a cooee, and I answered it. Hussey came up, saying he had been camped close all day, but unable to come, and that he thought Rees and Arthur were behind somewhere and he believed them to be dead. Hussey and I decided to push on at once and tried to persuade Shirley to come with us. The poor fellow tried to walk and fell, so we were compelled to shake hands and leave him. Hussey and I walked on very slowly.

Thursday morning. — We reckoned we had 11 miles to go. We travelled on until sunrise and could see scrub ahead of us about two miles distant. When Hussey laid down, I begged him to get up and not remain on the plain to die in the sun. He only went about 200 yards further when he laid down again. No persuasion would induce him to move. I was compelled to leave him under a little bush.

I made the scrub about 8 a.m., and was then 6 miles from the well. I managed to stagger on about 2 miles when I fell down and recollect no more until I was aroused by my boy pouring water over my head. He managed to get me along to within about 2 miles of camp when he left me in the shade and went for more water. I got into the camp about 5 p.m. on Thursday. I had a good drink, wash and sleep and with the boy started after Hussey. Friday morning. — We went about 4 miles back when I knocked up, and the boy also. Cooeed for about half an hour, but on receiving no reply we returned to the camp, starting here about 9, being very thankful for my escape.

I think the reason for my standing longer than the others is that I would not drink horse blood, which the others did whenever a horse knocked up. Can you kindly procure me warrants to bury the bodies3, as I can do so from here and also recover some of the things, as rain has fallen yesterday and today. I could not rest easy with the thought that the bodies of the poor fellows I have found such good mates are being torn about by dogs and birds of prey.

Alan M. Giles.
Attack Creek, 14 November, 1883.”

To the Superintendent of Telegraphs, Adelaide via Skinner, Alice Springs.
Sorry to report that all the police party except myself and a black boy died from thirst on Wednesday last. Also all the horses. Have walked 50 miles with nothing to eat since Sunday. Please instruct Mr Abbott to send a man with two spare riding horses, also a pocket instrument, foolscap, pencil, pick, shovel, tomahawk, and rope to lower bodies into graves. Let him send me a little nourishing food, such as rice, cornflour, fruit and lime juice and also a box of pills, blanket, towel, short, trousers, tobacco and matches. Also two billies, plates, knife fork and fly, and some cartridges. I have none. Please let the party start at once as I am very week, tired and wet through. I know where the bodies of Shirley and Hussey are lying — about 15 miles from the last water. Arthur Phillips and Rees further back. Please let the party get here tonight. — A. M. Giles, survivor, Police party, Attack Creek.

To the Superintendent of Telegraphs. Adelaide 9p.m.

Line just workable, but there is a very heavy leakage, and it may go again at any moment. There is very bad news of the police party who started in search of Readford.. I have not yet had full particulars, but believe the whole party with the exception of Giles and the blackboy have perished for want of water. Mr. Giles left Trooper Shirley about 15 miles from Attack Creek apparently completely exhausted, but as there is a thunderstorm about the vicinity there are some hopes of his surviving, but the rest of the men, viz, J. Rees, J. Hussey, C. Phillips and A. Phillips were left without hope of recovery. Mr. Giles and the black boy walked in 50 miles to Attack Creek. A party from Powell’s Creek left this morning to assist Mr. Giles with instructions from Mr. Johnston to travel day and night. The above information I received from Mr. Bowley at Tennant’s Creek. Immediately communication is restored I will speak to Mr Johnston at Tennant’s Creek and get any other particulars they have and wire same to you. — J. Skinner, Alice Springs.

3The burial site of Shirley is unknown today, but is believed to be in the vicinity of Brunchilly Creek, about 40 mile east-north-east of Attack Creek. Some accounts credit Mounted Constable Willshire of Alice Springs with burying Shirley. As Willshire was stationed at Alice Springs some 300 miles away and requiring about 10 days travel, it is more likely Giles and others returned and performed the burials. It is unlikely Willshire could have found the bodies without Giles especially after such a considerable lapse of time. SAPOL members contributed to a fund which raised £347.1 9s.3s. This was considerable amount for the time and was paid to Shirley’s mother.

To A. M. Giles. Attack Creek.

Fearfully shocked to hear of sad disaster, But [thank God to hear of your safety. Relief has been sent to you. Run no further risk. Hope you will reach Tennant’s Creek safely. Let me know how you and the poor black boy are. Please give me the names and addresses of the nearest relations of the other poor fellows, if you know them.
C. Todd, Postmaster General and Superintendent of Telegraphs.

Mounted Constable John Charles Shirley

Joined SA. Police on 10 March, 1877. — Born Clonmel Ireland, on 27 September 1856. Previous occupation: Mattress maker.

Service Record

10-3-1877    3rd Class Trooper Adelaide.
1-6-1879     2nd Class Trooper — Believed to have been stationed Alice Springs Telegraph Station in 1880
                    and the first stationed there.
1-7-1882     Promoted to First Class Mounted Constable.
23-7-1882.  Transferred to Barrow Creek.
7-11-1883.  Died of thirst. (at age 27 years). He was the first police officer to lose his life in the Northern
                    Territory.   He is memorialized at the Fort Largs Police Academy.

After a series of bush ranging activities in 1871, John Baker returned to South Australia where he asked a local barber to dye his distinctive red hair. The barber refused and Baker was subsequently recognised and arrested. Before being extradited to New South Wales where he was later hanged, Baker swore he would kill the barber.


In addition to SAPOL web site www.sapolice.sa.gov.au and PHS website www.sapo1icehistorical.org/ we now have our own E-mail address as follows — historica1@poIice.sa.gov.au

Members may wish to promulgate this information among friends etc. to encourage visits to the web sites and/or contact us should any historical information be required.


The South Australian Police Historical Society Inc.

Author — Allan Peters
The S.A. Writers’ Festival

Will be presenting a range of well written and unusual S.A. books dealing with the history of - our state - our police — aspects of our criminal past -and the human side of policing.

All books will be offered for sale at reduced prices and book signing will be available. Visit our display at —The Old Willunga Courthouse & Police Station Museum
High St. Willunga.

Sunday November 11, 2001. 11a.m. — 4.30 p.m.

The “HUE & CRY” is
Published by the South Australian
Police Historical Society Inc.
Thebarton Police Barracks
C/— Box 1539 S.A. 5083
G.P.O. Adelaide 5001
Janice Hutchin



Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Site map | Tell a Friend
© 2000  South Australian Police Historical
Society Incorporated.  All Rights Reserved.
This web site first established on November 23rd 2000.
Web development by Charlie Tredrea